Vietnamese authorities sentence Australian citizen to 12 years in jail for “terrorism”


November 11, 2019

In a brief trial earlier today, Vietnamese authorities sentenced Tran Van Quyen, Nguyen Van Vien, and Australian national Chau Van Kham to 10 to 12 years in prison on baseless charges of “terrorism”. Today’s arbitrary verdict confirms that legal proceedings in Vietnam are a sham.

After nearly a year of arbitrary detention, reports of forced confessions, and access to legal counsel granted just 18 days prior to the trial, Vietnamese authorities presented no evidence of “terrorism” in sentencing the three human rights activists. 

Do Hoang Diem, chairman of Viet Tan, said: “Chau Van Kham traveled to Vietnam to gain first-hand insight into the human rights situation in the country. Nguyen Van Vien and Tran Van Quyen are peaceful activists. We challenge the Vietnamese government to provide any evidence linking them to ‘terrorism’. The Vietnamese authorities are criminalizing human rights advocacy.”

Today’s verdict calls into question communist Vietnam’s legitimacy and whether Australia, the United States, the European Union or any law-abiding nation can forge a sustainable economic or security partnership with Hanoi. 

Since 2017, Vietnamese authorities have arrested dozens of bloggers and human rights defenders in an unprecedented crackdown on free expression. Posting content on Facebook, participating in peaceful protests, and promoting democracy have all been deemed threats to national security. The closed trial today violates international law and demonstrates the extent to which the Vietnamese government applies baseless charges to silence peaceful activists.

With members in Vietnam and around the world, Viet Tan advocates for social justice and democratic change through peaceful means.

Viet Tan demands the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners, and will continue to highlight the Vietnamese government’s ongoing human rights violations.

Contact: Dr. Phong Nguyen +61 487 193 896